Regulations as a five-figure ‘hidden tax’

Michael Bastasch of the Daily Caller highlights a new report on the impact of federal regulations.

The federal regulatory apparatus imposed a roughly $14,600 “hidden tax” on American households in 2018, according to a report by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

“That amounts to 20 percent of the average pretax income of $73,573, and 24 percent of the average expenditure budget of $60,060,” CEI’s Wayne Crews wrote in his annual Ten Thousand Commandments report released Tuesday.

In total, federal regulations, once again, cost the U.S. economy $1.9 trillion despite the Trump administration’s effort to roll back onerous regulations. Crews said his report was a conservative estimate of the true cost of regulations.

“The regulatory ‘tax’ exceeds every item in the household budget except housing,” Crews wrote. “More is ‘spent’ on embedded regulation than on health care, food, transportation, entertainment, apparel, services, and savings.”

One of President Donald Trump’s first actions upon taking office was to rein in federal agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that had issued billions of dollars worth of regulations during the Obama administration.

And Trump’s had some success, according to Crews.

Crews reported that Trump will cut regulatory costs about $50 billion by the end of 2019, and his administration issued 3,368 rules in 2018. The year before, federal agencies issued just 3,281 rules, which is the lowest since records began in the 1970s.

Trump officials withdrew or delayed 1,579 Obama-era regulations in the pipeline, but those were never finalized. When it comes to repealing existing regulations, progress has been more limited.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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